Since the start of Rise of Shadows Rogue has been pretty dominant, actually even the most powerful class. I expected that this will soon change because it was too early to know what is the best and what is going to counter those "best" strategies. It turns out that Rogue is still on the top and meta game statistics show that it will stay this way until we get some bigger changes in the meta or even in the game balance.
From day one of the expansion Tempo Rogue archetypes looked promising. Players were reporting hitting high legend ranks easy with that kind of decks. Very few bad match-ups are the reason why this deck is on the top and will be staying there unless we see some kind of new wave of counter strategies that might develop in the meta. Aside from Control Warrior and Token Druid, Tempo Rogue is a favorite in all other match-ups currently on the ladder. Let's take a look at one version of the deck and see why is that the case:
EVIL Miscreant - This card is essential in the Tempo Rogue style decks. At first, everyone thought that it would suck but the 1/5 body actually fits the Rogue immensely because with tools like Backstab or even Hero Power Dagger it helps with trading and sticks on the board. Lackeys are also a big part of it, the 1 mana 1/1s that give such a nice tempo boost while also giving resources to continue the pressure against the opponent. Lackey help with combos as well. In the end, this card is really something.
Waggle Pick - Another card from a new expansion, a high attack power weapon that can do a massive and also it helps you repeat strong battlecries and combo effects. Goes well with Dread Corsair making them cost 0 mana when equipped. This also strengthens the power of our next core card.
Raiding Party - Maybe even the strongest card in the Tempo Rogue even though it provides zero tempo. 3 mana drawing 3 cards is really strong but drawing specific cards is even better. Drawing into Waggle Pick with 2 Dread Corsairs or even Captain Greenskin will give back the tempo lost or when played with preparation it goes beyond unfair power levels.
Edwin Vancleef - A classic legendary that is always around when Tempo or Miracle Rogue is played. The card is just good and because you generate cheap lackeys and sometimes drawing cheap pirates like Southsea Deckhands with preps, backstabs, shadowsteps, etc. this card fits the deck and can easily get in the play being a 3 mana 8/8 or higher.
Dread Corsair - As mentioned good synergies with Waggle Pick and Raiding Party.
Southsea Deckhand - Cheap minion that is also a Pirate and it is easy to proc combo effects with it and in Rogue, it is pretty much a 1 mana 2/1 charge minion. Pretty solid for this build.
Leeroy Jenkins - A finisher like always. Now it has an even greater impact because of its synergy with Waggle Pick as a Shadowstep that also gives a little bit of extra damage into the combo. For 8 mana with Waggle Pick, it can be played twice which means a 16 damage burst already on turn 8.
Deadly Poison - Extends the reach on Waggle Pick and Dagger and also is a cheap card good for combos. With the Dagger, it also boosts the Dread Corsair Synergy.
Eviscerate - Just an efficient tool, easily proced in this deck. Good for removal, reach, just a solid card that fits in almost every Rogue deck.
Myra's Unstable Element is almost a staple in the deck as it is the best card to draw when you need more fuel to finish out the game. Because the curve of the deck finished at 5 mana this happens quite often and drawing the rest of the deck will most likely give enough burn to set up a lethal for the next turn or 2.
Also, this deck enabled a really good use of Captain Greenskin because it fits the curve after Waggle Pick and because that weapon has high attack his effect becomes extremely powerful. He is a Pirate so he has an additional synergy with Raiding Party.
Tech Against Mirror Match:
Mirror match often is just a face race and Lifedrinker is a good substitute for Hench-Clan Thug. It does have a worse body for the mana cost but Tempo Rogues are really good at clearing 4/4s that the body size doesn't matter so much, but the Lifedrinker effect will make a 6 damage difference which is huge and of course even more if it gets bounced to the hand and played again. Definitely boosts the win-rate in mirrors where the opponent isn't running Lifedrinkers as well.
I will just start off with the worst match-up, Control Warrior. Basically, in this match-up, you just have to pressure him with the most you can and hope he didn't draw all of his clears or Dr. Boom hero card. Playing aggro seems to work best but often than not this is a win for Warrior. A really bad match-up with somewhere around 25-30% win ratio.
The second worst match-up is Token Druid. The greatest weakness for Rogue is that it can't deal well with wide boards and this is what Token Druid does and it is doing it all the time. Mulligan is really important in this match-up because to win you should win considerably in the early game board and it is possible to do, but with a specific card. Keeping Backstabs and SI:7 Agents is crucial because that way you can develop as you clear those early tokens that all have 1 or 2 health. From there keeping the control won't be that hard but once you are starting to lose grasp of it again just going face to finish the game as quick as possible is the best bet.
Zoo Warlock is a slightly favored match-up. Even though it also plays with really wide boards all of the time the difference it that Warlock will damage himself while playing and because Tempo Rogue has a high damage potential this will greatly benefit in a face race strategy. Trading in this match-up is most of the time a mistake, the only targets that should be removed are Magic Carpets and value givers like Dire Wolf and Knife Juggler. Going face wins the race.
Rogue is pretty favored against all other match-ups and the plan is pretty much the same against them all. Getting on board early. When you have enough advantage on the board or enough resources in your hand start going face to finish the game. Saving Sap for potential taunt plays or for expensive minions that don't impact the board too much with their battlecry to greatly out-tempo or even finish the opponent.
Since we mulligan with Rogue, our card selection can vary more if we go first or second than the match-up we are facing because of the coin. Our free and best activator for early combos.
With the Coin - Keep SI:7, EVIL Miscreant, Backstab, Hench-Clan Thug Edwin Vancleef, and Raiding Party
Without the Coin - Keep Backstab, SI:7, Hench-Clan Thug, Deadly Poison, Deckhand, and Preparation
Because the only problem against aggro is getting the board control in the early game we need to keep the Backstab and SI:7 to easily turn it around in both cases.
With the coin, keeping, any 3-drop is good because all of them give you the ability to fight early boards or giving you plenty of resources, like Raiding Party. Also, Edwin getting free +2/+2 will most likely be enough to secure the board against aggro on a turn 2.
Without the coin most of the time even if you have a target for a Backstab on turn 1 or 2 but you also have an SI:7 in hand ready, you should wait for turn 3 to play them both to get an easy activation and tempo swing. Also sometimes keeping Prep is okay because it can be used with Raiding Party or as a combo activator even though it is not ideal.
If you happen to get Preparation and Raiding Party in the opening hand it is a must keep because it is the best 2 card combo in the deck. 0 mana thining the deck and drawing 3 synergistic cards from your deck.
This is it for this review. The deck is performing quite well, the stats are from rank 4 to rank 1 on the first day of the ladder this season. This deck is on top of tier 1 right now and it is because you always feel favored in the match that isn't Warrior or Token Druid. Crafting this one is highly recommended. Maybe they will target it with nerfs but still, this can't be predicted so I would go for it.
Thank you for reading!